Comedy review: Josh Thomas, Let’s Tidy Up, Arts Centre Melbourne, MICF 2024

A comedy of distraction and divergence that delivers.
Josh Thomas. Let's Tidy Up. Image is a young man on stage in a blue shirt and black pants, surrounded by bits of furniture and objects and with confetti falling from the ceiling all around him.

The stage at Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne, is a mess. As audience members file in, we stare at a collection of random household objects: a table, some chairs, a violin case and a broom. Confetti petals fall from the ceiling, covering the scene in a layer of soft pink.

When Josh Thomas comes out, he informs us of his semi-recent diagnoses of ADHD and autism. He also tells us that this performance is inspired by a day when he attempted to tidy up his apartment.

Any neurodivergent person will understand that the undertaking of something as simple as cleaning a room can be overwhelming. You start one task with good intentions, but immediately become distracted. You find an old memory book from years ago; you spend the entire day tracking down old primary school friends on Instagram etc.

This is how Let’s Tidy Up unfolds. The set aimlessly jumps from memories to anecdotes, to shower thoughts and illicit confessions – all delivered with Josh Thomas’s utterly endearing and awkward patter. All the while, petals fall overhead like intrusive thoughts flitting through his mind, with increasing speed and vigour as the stories spiral out of control.

Written by dramatist Lally Katz, this show is a musing on neurodivergence and Thomas’ journey moving to Hollywood, but is also an insight into getting older and being treated like an adult when you aren’t ready yet. Thomas has perfected the art of delivering Millennial wisdom disguised as relatable cringe.

‘Untidy people are harder to love,’ Thomas says. But we’re all untidy, to some extent. If we’re all a bit off, and all of us are “failing”, then we are all doing OK.

Read: Comedy review: Julia Masli: ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, Chinese Museum, MICF 2024

Tickets: $49-59

Josh Thomas: Let’s Tidy Up is performing at Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne, until 21 April 2024 as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF 2024).